SINGAPORE -Wooden prints of door deities as soon as adorned properties in villages throughout Chinese language New 12 months, in hopes of driving away unhealthy omens and evil spirits.
The deities that native artist John Soo depicted for the Nian Hua (Chinese language New 12 months prints) exhibition on the revamped Solar Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Corridor in Balestier have an area contact.
“For instance, the Chinese language door spirits maintain a keris – a robust weapon (dagger synonymous with Malay tradition) that casts away spirits.
“A purple dot will also be seen on their foreheads, symbolising the Indian perception that if somebody had been to do good to you, you must do good to them.
“So by doing good to one another, say placing on masks for different individuals’s sake, we will cease the unfold of illness,” mentioned Mr Soo.
The 2 deities should not solely donning masks, they’re guarding a door painted orange to depict Singapore’s illness outbreak response system situation (Dorscon) degree, which the nation moved to in February 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This 12 months’s exhibition, titled ‘Nian Hua: Of Deities, Guardians and Auspicious Artwork’, was organised in collaboration with Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing, China.
It options near 70 artefacts originating from totally different Chinese language provinces.
Nian Hua, which interprets to “new 12 months prints”, are auspicious symbols relationship again to the Qing dynasty. The prints are normally carved on woodblock, with the extra intricate particulars painted by hand.
Chatting with Straits Instances on Friday (Jan 21), the museum’s curator, Ms Jermaine Chua, mentioned new 12 months prints stay an essential artwork kind in Chinese language tradition.
She added that the characters, motifs and tales depicted mirror the “values, beliefs and traditions practised by generations of households, and their hopes and desires for the longer term”.
“By taking a better have a look at Nian Hua, we additionally acquire a greater understanding and appreciation of our intangible cultural heritage,” mentioned Ms Chua.
The corridor is cut up into 4 sections: Door Deities and Guardians; Kitchen God, Earth God and different Deities; Blessings for the Bedchambers; and Happiness, Prosperity and Longevity.
Woodblock moulds sourced from a non-public lender in Singapore may even be showcased for the primary time.
Mr Bathroom Say Chong, a non-public collector and researcher who loanedtwo woodblock moulds, mentioned: “Woodblock printing has an essential place in Chinese language historical past and tradition. It’s a craft that requires precision, each throughout carving and through alignment for printing.”
The exhibition additionally contains curated prints from the Nationwide Museum of Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum and Singapore Artwork Museum, and modern-day interpretations of Nian Hua by native artists.
Aside from art work, guests also can participate in a lantern-making workshop.
It will likely be carried out by Mr Jimm Wong, one of many final conventional lantern makers in Singapore making Fuzhou- and Cantonese-style lanterns.
“I hope that by conducting this workshop, I can spark some curiosity within the youthful era of our roots and the humanities, and go on my data and expertise.” mentioned Mr Wong.
The exhibition will run from Jan 21 to Sept 25 on the museum’s gallery 5.